Just the beginning

Over the last few weeks, this blog has pulled apart Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, looking at its implications for the church. That discussion was, however, just the beginning of this investigation. The aim here is to become remarkable, not for our own sake, but that the kingdom of God might be expanded from here in our hearts to rule over all the earth. That is the type of radical greatness that my heart longs for – to leave a legacy of radical obedience serving a radical King.

The task, then, is to be remarkable and radical, all the while being faithful. Having seen a secular marketing view on what it means to be remarkable in Purple Cow, the next step is to figure out why the church isn’t remarkable. We carry the gospel – the good news – and yet the world has rejected us and our message.

Why? Before we can go any further, we need to answer that question. Why has the church’s message been muffled? To answer that, let’s turn to Matthew 5 – the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men (Matthew 5:10-13).

Matthew 5 here provides two reasons why the church’s message gets missed. The first is because we bring the message that we bring is opposed to the world. Romans 1 tells us that the world has suppressed the truth and persecutes the church because of the message we bring.

The second, conversely, is that we, the church, have lost our saltiness. Our impact on the world and the power of the message we bring is lost because we have compromised, failing to be salt and light in the world. Over the next several posts, we will dive into how the church has compromised and why we have lost our saltiness. As we move in that direction, I encourage you to chime in on our interact question.

Interact: How has the church compromised? Why have we lost our saltiness?

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One Response

  1. At first, I started thinking about the huge divide, the polarization of churches in Americ over the past several decades in how the visible church operates. You know the typcial divide between orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy, liberalism vs. conservativism, legalism vs. antinomianism, traditional vs. progressive, etc., on and on – and all of the areas of gray in between.

    Churches compromise all the time when we overreact each other. The Catholic church requires confession to a priest in order for someone to be absolved from sin. Many in the protestant church hold that confession between “me and God” is all that matters, and then walk around carrying guilt and shame and doubt because our sin has never been dragged out into the light where it can be openly crucified and no longer have power over us.

    The liberal, progressive mainline churches are open to rejecting key tenants of the Christian faith, like the apostles creed, but are very concerned about and go out of their way to create a welcoming, inclusive experience for everyone who visits, regardless of lifestyle or situation. Many traditional, conservative churches rigorously strive to adhere to a high level of moral standards and good solid teaching, but in the process can create an environment that is not welcoming to outsiders or people who are not already just like them.

    I could go on and on with hundreds of variations of compromises, but I remembered Revelation Chapters 2 – 3, where Jesus is speaking to the seven churches. He compliments them for the things they are doing well, but also goes on to rebuke them soundly for what they lack. I think that the things Jesus highlighted when addressing those churches also apply to many of the issues in churches today.

    Here is what I think Jesus is saying about why the churches have lost their saltiness:

    Rev. 2:4b You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

    In Rev. 2:14-15 People who are holding to false teaching and committing sexual immorality. Jesus says: 16 Repent therefore!

    Rev. 3:1b “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up!”

    Rev. 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

    “17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. … So be earnest, and repent.

    20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

    22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    Whatcha think?

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